Two quit after ‘VM’ probe
Amateur theatre leaders alleged to have bullied and victimised an actor seem to fear they went to far as two of them quit the group.
The ‘VM’ has revealed how a professional opera star was hounded out of an am-dram theatrical group.
A clique alleged to have been out to get rid of Ros Broad were slammed by members of the Yeovil Amateur Operatic Society (YAOS) for: Ros-bashing, witch-hunting, victimisation, harassment, bullying and jealousy.
The former D’Oyly Carte Opera soloist, with connections in Whittington, was put through a two-hour ‘kangaroo court’ before being kicked out of the society.
Before that she says she was booted out of a production of ‘South Pacific’ after being, bullied, humiliated and threatened for refusing to ‘black up’ for her role as an islander in the musical.
After that the YAOS committee called Mrs. Broad before a disciplinary hearing. But they refused to tell her what she was accused of.
Only three of the 20 people claimed to have petitioned for her expulsion turned up.
Twenty locked out
More than 20 people who wanted to support her were kept out.
Her attackers’ claims that she involved the media over the ‘blacking up’ affair were proven to be false. No other substantive allegations were made against her.
A member and Justice of Peace suggested Mrs. Broad had been a trouble maker for a long time and that refusing to wear body paint was the, “tip of the iceberg.”
But she failed to offer one shred of evidence to support the slur despite people demanding to know what she was talking about.
Since ‘VM’ began investigating two people have quit the society.
Details were revealed about one of them involving a child in the bid to persuade Mrs. Broad to wear dark mahogany brown body paint.
The action is alleged to have been demeaning and offensive to both the child and the actor.
‘VM’ has also learned of an alleged attempt by one of Mrs. Broad’s detractors to force a female minor to change her clothes in a male dressing room during an earlier YAOS show.
It is also alleged a man was arrested for assault after a confrontation with the child’s mother. The charges were later dropped.
But following that incident too, it is claimed the mother who crossed YAOS’ controlling clique was hounded out of the society, as well as three of her supporters.
The YAOS bosses have refused to say if they complied with laws on children in the theatre.
It is understood that am-dram groups must put male and female children in separate rooms dedicated for minors only.
Child actors must also be provided with Criminal Records Board-checked, and county council licensed chaperones during performances.
Mrs. Broad refused to ‘black up’ because of her views on racial equality.
Now the society is under investigation by the Somerset Racial Equality Board.
If it fails to co-operate further action could follow.
The society’s secretary, Paula Budzynski, said ‘blacking up’ was not offensive because too few ‘blacks’ lived in Yeovil.